This week, Gov. Jay Inslee and State Superintendent Chris Reykdal announced that K-12 school closures will remain in effect through the end of the school year. The news comes as we are just about to cross the first estimated date of return, which was April 13, after spring break. When the kids were first sent home from school, there was an initial rush of online ideas and resources of things to do with the kids, people posting their schedules and crafty ideas making the rounds. We are at the stage of “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” where businesses, restaurants, and libraries have pivoted and are pivoting again and now we have a new crop of options, many of which are virtual.
Before we get to that, I wanted to add that the Easter Bunny just got an assist by The Edmonds Bookshop this week. I was able to call the shop and have the book we wanted by that afternoon (brown paper bag and bookmark attached.) Turns out, Dogman: For Whom The Ball Rolls was the only book needed to complete my youngest’s collection. Completing the collection became the goal once it was announced that Dav Pilkey was doing eight weekly installments (one for each Dogman book) of Dav Pilkey at Home, where Pilkey reads from the Dogman book of the week — I should add you don’t need any of these books to participate, we happen to have them because they’re his favorite and he can easily read graphic novels. We have done both weekly installments so far and enjoyed it. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but while we’re on the subject and mentioning things twice, Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems –though no longer updated daily — has three weeks worth of daily drawing instructions and Q&A sessions available.
Sno-Isle Libraries announced this week that they will be taking “storytimes, book clubs, and trivia online” while promising that more Sno-Isle Libraries programs will get digital programming options soon. I was in touch with Edmonds Library Manager Richard Suico Friday and he told me that while there isn’t a firm start date yet, the first round of Storytimes would be recorded and will “include songs, books, fingerplays or other storytime activities,” which we will be able to find on YouTube. I saw on the library’s Facebook page that these recorded options will offer Closed Captioning. There will eventually be Live Storytimes where staff will provide storytimes in their home libraries using Facebook Live.
Additionally, the Sno-Isle team is developing a Dial-a-Story option for patrons without internet access. Alongside this announcement, our local libraries announced that you can get Wi-Fi access from the Edmonds, Lynnwood, and Mountlake Terrace library parking lots. Edmonds will offer 24-hour Wi-Fi, while Lynnwood and MLT will have it available from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day. For more information on the announcement, you can check out the blog on Sno-Isle.org. They suggest you keep an eye on their calendar to see up-to-date information on the current and upcoming virtual event options. The library also has many options to get books, magazines, movies, and activities at home, you can find the links to those options on the menu bar of the library homepage.
A friend told me that they are utilizing a free daily Circle Time by Khan Academy. At our house, Khan Academy is used for math for both of my kids — one is having work assigned there and the other was using it as we led up to remote learning. You can find the daily circle time on Khan Academy Kids YouTube channel HERE. If you’re looking for a free math resource with work divided by grade level, you can find Khan Academy at KhanAcademy.org, or in our case on our school’s library website and via our Clever.com login. I shared our librarian’s
explanation of how to log on HERE.
Next week, Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center invite “youth and families to experience the cultures of our Pacific Northwest neighbors from your own home at Movin’ Around the World: Virtual, April 13-17, 2020!” Each day next week “families can participate in dance, music, and culture from local artists and culture bearers, as they showcase performances and workshops” that will be available on NWFolkLife.org for a suggested $5-10 donation. There will be a new topic or theme each day and each video will have additional activities available and the schedule is as follows:
Monday, April 13: Flamenco Dancing with Ana Montes
Tuesday, April 14: Modern Movement with Moving Minds Dance
Wednesday, April 15: Bharatanatyam with Kalalaya Dance
Thursday, April 16: Appalachian Flatfooting with Charmaine Slaven
Friday, April 17: Brazilian Capoeira with Silvio dos Reis
The Edmonds School District will resume remote learning next Monday and both Comcast and PBS have added additional resources. Comcast launched Xfinity Education and “made nearly 2,000 hours of programming and thousands of free titles available to Xfinity video customers to give children and parents quick and easy access to educational programming by grade level.” Integrated into the Xfinity on Demand option, users can find educational series, fitness options, podcasts, and Spanish language programming. They partnered with Common Sense Media, a resource we use to help decide on movies and TV shows we watch together, to help them curate a list of “educational recommendations to help kids learn and keep them engaged during their time indoors.” Comcast is also offering two free months of internet access for new customers via Internet Essentials, which you can find at InternetEssentials.com.
PBS also found a partner to offer additional resources to teachers and families. Along with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), PBS is increasing daily educational programming for at-home learning. The PBS Kids 24/7 channel has educational series for kids 2 to 8 around the clock while their website, PBSKids.org offers additional videos, stories, and games. KCTS Channel 9/the WORLD channel will be broadcasting free educational content for grades 6 to 12 on weekdays from 9 am to 2 pm. KCTS is also offering a Resource Guide, which you can find HERE, which has links to resources from PreK-12 in English and Spanish. The guide is a “collection of curated resources organized by grade and subject area” that includes “videos, lesson plans, and activities that support learning at home.”
Though this next bit is not necessarily for kids, something called a “tot waffle” was one of the bright spots of this week — we’re trying to continue to work on gratitude. A tot waffle is exactly what it sounds like, a waffle made out of tater tots. All I did was take leftover tots out of the fridge and line them up on a waffle iron we rarely use and cook them until we thought they were done. It combined the taste of a tater top with the crispiness of a well done French fry — now you see why I don’t write the restaurant column. Because I would want more information before I tried any recipe, even one as easy at a tot waffle, you can find an official recipe on BonAppetit.com.
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.